Live music tourism in the UK alone is worth $4.6 billion dollars. When you factor in the US and other countries with musical interests, that number evolves into a $2.1 trillion dollar revenue opportunity. An under maximized opportunity at that, given the opinion of the guest speakers, interviewed at NYTF’s Exploring Music Tourism panel.
- Fiona Bloom, Founder of TheBloomEffect.com, an international music marketing agency
- Geko Jones, Latin Music tastemaker, producer and DJ of Que Bajo latin music events
- Justa Lujwangana, Founder of Curious on Tanzania, an experiential travel company
- Malik Abdul Rahmaan, Ethnomusicologist, and music producer of “Field Research,” a music series exploring beat sampling from travel destinations, and
- Jesse Serwer, Editor in Chief of Largeup, a Caribbean music website.
Voices chimed in a discussion-style jam session on everything from understanding a destination’s culture to determining development opportunities to conceptually generating revenue while maintaining authenticity to the music. To kick it off the panelists were asked how they define music tourism, and they unanimously agreed that it is “so much more than a festival.”
The session was lively and informative filled with valuable insights and opinion, including:
Rock, steady. Many countries are limited in their idea of money-making genres and focus on mainstream Rock and Pop traditions. It takes patience and dedication to bring them around to realize the full revenue potential that can be generated by extending their musical tastes to include the urban sounds of Hip-Hop, R&B, and Reggae. The key is nurturing authentic relationships with country contacts–cultural attaches and consulates; when they find someone they trust who understands the landscape, the possibilities are limitless.
“The one language that is universal for everyone is music.”
–Malik Abdul Rahmaan
One love. Music is the one constant that emotionally tethers us to each other, cerebrally and culturally. A traveler’s journey begins with the desire to immerse in the local country flavor, to be authentically present where the music comes alive. The travel experience should mirror that idea.
Coming to America. A member of the audience associated with the Czech Center shared her frustrations with the increased mobility challenges bringing artists to the US under the current administration. Visiting artists must obtain a visa, regardless of their origin country. This process can take up to (6) months and can cost as much as $5K per person. In most cases, the time and cost are unmanageable. If an artist, and even more so for academics, has traveled to one of the 7 banned countries and attempts to enter the US, you are automatically turned away at the border. Any and all social media is actively monitored if there is a statement and/or comment made that can be misinterpreted it has the potential to jeopardize an artist’s opportunity to enter the US.
For your personal discovery, the panelists also shared music recommendations:
- Angelique Kidjo (Cameroon): Listen
- Geko Jones (Colombia): Listen
- Ram (Haiti): Listen
- Chronixx (Jamaica): Listen
- Dance Hall Riddims (Jamaica): Listen
- Field of Research (Malaysia): Listen
- Diamond Platnumz featuring Ne-Yo (Tanzania): Listen
- Koku Gonza (Tanzania): Listen
- The Zombies (UK): Listen
- Sister Nancy (US): Listen
- Tune-In Radio Platform for Discovery: Listen
This post originally published to Medium on 4/22/17.